Helene Blain Brandt
1936 - 2013
Helene Brandt passed away tragically on August 27, 2013. Helene died after losing consciousness while swimming in calm waters off of the coast of North Carolina. Our hearts are broken by this sudden loss. Helene died as she lived – surrounded by family, friends and the great outdoors. She was an extraordinary artist, and an inspiration to her husband, children, grandchildren and to her many friends around the world.
You can view a blog about her life and work as it unfolds on www.facebook.com/helenebrandt76
“I want to reduce the boundary between art and spectator. I want the viewer to walk around and even get inside some of the sculptures, and to understand them both physically and emotionally.” Helen Brandt (Personal Statement)
Helene was a remarkably versatile artist, beginning her career with woodcarving and silk screening and moving on to become a true master of the medium of welded steel tubing. Many of her lesser known works reflect her range and versatility as an artist working in mediums from maquettes, drawings, and writings to a variety of powerful botanically based wall pieces. Some of her latest illustrated short writings are so unusual and powerful, they reveal her uniquely enlightened insights into the human condition, which continued to evolve into her final years.
“Her sculpture has many roots. It suggests Surrealism, Constructivism and the architectural sculptures of Alice Aycock. In its prehistoric and skeletal quality, however, as well as in its craft and humor, Brandt's work feels closest to the sculpture of Nancy Graves. Brandt's work also has a touch of Leonardo, whose presence in this age of inventive Postmodernist profusion seems to be everywhere.” Michael Brenson (New York Times, April 6, 1984)
In addition to her productive career as an artist, Helene made a rich mark on the world through a warm and infectious optimism that all who knew her will recognize (and miss - terribly). She was direct and yet not judgmental. She could always find a positive and productive path to take in a tough situation. Her insights could be startling and disarming (and you were always so glad that she shared them). And then there was that wonderful smile – it arose from the depths of her soul and made clear that everything was ok.
“Grandma was probably the most upbeat person I have ever known. I remember as a young boy she would make me feel amazing, impressed with my creations in her studio. To me, she will always be someone who managed to see the bright side of everything.” Alex Brandt (grandson)
“Grandma was a warm-hearted beacon of liveliness. She was the best person to talk to when times were tough and you really needed support. She was wonderful.” Chris Brandt (grandson)
A memorial is being planned to celebrate Helene’s life; details will be posted on this site. Meanwhile, we invite you to reflect upon Helene’s work by visiting helenebrandt.com and by reviewing an recent interview “A Conversation with Helene Brandt”, by GG Kopilak on Pleasantville Community Television .
Please send any thoughts or memories you would like to share to memories of Helene. If you wish to send condolences at this time, please send to:
Dr. Philip Brandt
308 West 263rd Street
Bronx, N. Y. 10471
With love and appreciation, the Brandt Family